Quick Pickled Green Beans + Bloody Mary

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Hi Folks. Hope everyone is having a great summer. I’m getting back to some quick pickling again. Not too long ago we bought a big bag of green beans, for potato salad and whatever else. But we couldn’t eat that many that fast so I decided to pickle what we had left. And I’m glad I did, they’re really good, makes a great garnish for a Bloody Mary so I posted that recipe as well. 

The ratio of green beans to liquid from the original recipe didn’t work out well, so I’ve made some notes in the recipe below that might be helpful. But don’t feel that you have to get everything super exact. After my second and third attempt I just started tossing a few things in here and there, adding the hot water and vinegar, it all works out, mostly, ha ha. I’m looking forward to trying this with other vegetables. One vegetable I’ve had pickled that I didn’t like was celery. The texture was too weird and it was hard to eat because it was so rubbery. I’ve had some excellent pickled mushrooms which I never thought I would like, but I do very much and plan on trying out some recipes. 

Initially I just photographed a plate of the pickled green beans, but it didn’t look very impressive, lol, then I remembered how good they were in a Bloody Mary so I whisked that together and I think the cocktail gives the green beans more visual appeal and context for photo styling purposes. 

Anything can look good!

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Quick Pickled Green Beans

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 2 cups white vinegar 
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 3-4 garlic cloves (1 for each jar)
  • A handful of fresh dill weed (and flowering dill seed if available)

Place the beans in canning jars (about 3 or 4 jars). Distribute the mustard seeds, crushed red pepper and dill among the jars evenly. Add a garlic clove to each jar. (I do it this way because when I worked from the original recipe, which was adding all these things to the pot, it was more difficult to distribute evenly in several containers)

In a pot, heat the vinegar and water to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the salt and sugar. Whisk until the salt and sugar dissolve.

Pour the liquid over the green beans. Add water to top off if needed (I ended up heating more vinegar and water because the ratios were way off, 1 lb of green beans is a lot!). Let cool, and then cover and place in the refrigerator. Allow the beans to pickle 24 hours before using. Pickled green beans will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

(Adapted from The Food Network)

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Bloody Mary

  • 6 ounces tomato juice
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish 
  • A few drops worcestershire sauce
  • A few drops hot sauce
  • Fresh lemon and juice
  • 1.5 ounce vodka

In a glass whisk together tomato juice, horseradish, worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, squeeze in juice of about a 1/4 lemon, stir and taste. (adjust as needed, I like 1 teaspoon horseradish but Jeff likes 1/2 teaspoon) It’s all about preferred taste, but this is what I like.  Add ice, garnish with lemon wedge and pickled green beans! Makes 1 drink.

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Preserved Lemons

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One night last week we walked over to Wilder for happy hour. One of the things we ordered was Fried Green Beans with spicy remoulade, and on top of the green beans laid a few slices of fried Preserved Lemons, and, wow, that’s what got me wanting to make them. The flavor is intense! Super rich lemony flavor, and not tart, they’re really amazing. Eating them on their own is a bit much, even when fried like french fries, so they’re mostly used to enhance flavors in salads, tabouli or fish.

I’m looking forward to using these in the next few weeks (they need to sit for 3-4 weeks, most people say 4 weeks) I’m going with the most basic recipe here. I’ve seen other recipes that add sugar, sometimes fresh herb or peppercorns. And from what I’ve read they will last a very long time refrigerated, some say a year, some say forever! But something tells me they won’t sit forever in the fridge. A couple things to keep in mind:

Salt. I did a little research on what kind of salt to use. I have Morton kosher salt and Mrs. Wages Pickling Salt, and everyone seems to say to use a kosher salt or any salt free of iodine, which can inhibit fermentation, so you won’t want to use basic table salt. I went with Mrs. Wages pickling salt since I still have quite a bit left from my pickling adventures. Also, the amount of salt? I’ve seen anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1 cup for a one quart jar. I ended up using 1/2 cup and I think a lot depends on the kind of salt you use, kosher is more granular so you would probably want to use more of that than pickling or a finer salt. 

Lemons. Many people recommend Meyer lemons, but you can use any kind of lemon, I would recommend using organic since you’ll be eating the peel. I used six large lemons, four for preserving in jar and two for additional juice.

See you in a few weeks with maybe a Moroccan dish! I’m looking forward to it.

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Preserved Lemons

  • 6 large Organic Lemons (or 8-9 Meyer Lemons)
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt (see notes above)

Sterilize a 1 quart canning jar. Fill jar with boiling water and let sit at least 10 minutes, then discard water. 

Trim the ends off lemons then slice the lemons into quarters.

Add 1/4 cup of salt to bottom of jar, add 2 or 3 slices of lemon, mash them with wooden spoon until they become soft and release their juice. Add a teaspoon or two of salt and then add more lemons, then more salt. Continue adding lemons, mashing and salting until jar is full. Top with more lemon juice if needed.

Ferment at room temperature for a couple days, giving the jar a shake here and there. Then refrigerate. In a few days, the salt will draw out enough juice to cover the lemons, add more lemon juice if needed. They will be ready to use in 3 to 4 weeks. They can be kept refrigerated up to 1 year.

Olive Tapenade

I heard a song the other day in the car, it was so cute, if a song can be cute, that I had to pull over and Shazam it. The song was We’re Going to Be Friends by The White Stripes, a band I’ve never heard of, but it’s what I’m listening to now while I’m trying to write about olives. We had a few neighbors over for a wine and cheese get together recently, we had some olives and a neighbor brought more, and so here I am making my first olive tapenade. It turned out really delicious. So much flavor! I excluded capers and anchovies from the original recipe because, yuck. I think what really makes the flavors work here are the Oven-Dried Tomatoes that I made last year, they held up remarkably well in the freezer. I would recommend adding those to this Tapenade. We make them every summer when the tomato plants are overflowing with tomatoes.

Olive Tapenade

  • 1 cup black olives, pitted
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted
  • 1/3 cup Dried Tomatoes with Herbs
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil. Using the pulse button, process until coarsely chopped and well blended. Continue to process, slowly adding the olive oil. Refrigerate in a covered container. Use as needed. Tapenade will keep up to 1 week, refrigerated, in a covered container.

Adapted from Epicurious - Wolfgang Puck

Green Bean Salad with Mustard Seeds and Tarragon

Green on green on green. We’ve been eating more vegetarian meals for dinner lately. Sometimes with fish, others just vegetables and quinoa or rice. It’s been a while since I’ve looked through Ottolenghi’s Plenty, and it wasn’t hard to find something new right away. The book is front to back vegetarian dishes with amazing flavors. This recipe caught my eye because of the tarragon, I have so much tarragon growing in the garden and I don’t use it as often as I like. It works great in this salad as lemon and tarragon are a perfect match. 

I skipped the nigella seeds because it sounded like one of those expensive exotic spices I might only use once. But who knows it might taste really good, people cannot even agree on what the flavor actually is. We had this last night over a bed of quinoa and a drizzle of sriracha, I skipped the red chile so this added some heat. I’ve tweaked a few things here but overall this is a great salad.

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Green Bean Salad with Mustard Seeds and Tarragon

  • 1 1/4 cups green beans, trimmed
  • 2 1/4 cups snow peas, trimmed
  • 1 3/4 cups green peas, (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds, roughly crushed with mortar and pestle (or 3/4 teaspoon ground)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (huh?)
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 mild fresh red chile, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup baby chard leaves or pea shoots

In a small bowl place the finely chopped red onion and add the sherry vinegar (enough to cover onions) and allow to sit for 30 minutes or so. When ready drain the onions.

Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Prepare a large bowl with water and ice. Blanch the green beans for 4 minutes, then remove and place in ice bath. Drain and dry. Then blanch the snow peas for 1 minute, place in ice bath then drain and dry. Blanch the peas for 20 seconds, refresh, drain and dry. Place all the beans and peas in a large bowl.

Put the coriander seeds, mustard seeds and oil in a small saucepan and heat up. When the seeds begin to pop (after a few minutes) pour the mixture over the vegetables. Toss together and add nigella seeds, red onion, chile, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and tarragon. Mix well and season with salt to taste. Before serving fold in the chard leaves, or top with pea shoots, or both! 

Adapted from Plenty

Toro Bravo’s Radicchio Salad

This is really an outstanding salad considering it only has a few ingredients, but those few have a lot of flavor that all work great together. We went to Toro Bravo for Jeff’s birthday a couple weeks ago and ordered a few dishes and this was one of them. Everything we ate was amazing, they really know flavor there. If you are ever visiting Portland I would put this place at the top of your list for dining.

The weather has really improved here with more sunshine than rain, finally! This past winter was rough with 6-7 months of near constant rain and/or snow. But that’s behind us now and we’re finally getting to all the yard clean up and it feels good. I’m just so happy to feel sun on my skin that I don’t even mind the boring task of sweeping dirt. Well that’s all for now, hope you have a chance to try out this salad. Enjoy!

Toro Bravo’s Radicchio Salad

  • 2 to 3 heads radicchio
  • 1/4 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good-quality sherry vinegar
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 + 1/2 cups Manchego, grated and divided

In a large bowl, add the balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar, and chopped red onion (I used 1/2 of a large red onion). Let it sit for 1 hour and then strain out the onions. (you can keep the pickled onions for another dish if you like)

Remove core from the radicchio and chop into 1-inch pieces. Place the chopped radicchio in a large bowl, fill with cold water and some ice cubes. Let it sit for 15 minutes to remove some of its bitterness, strain and then spin in a salad spinner until dry. 

Add the honey and olive oil to the strained vinegars and whisk well, I use this stick blender which works great. Depending on the size of your radicchio you may not need all the dressing.

Toss the radicchio with the dressing until evenly coated. Add 1 cup of finely grated Manchego, salt, and toss again.

To serve, top the salad in a serving bowl with the remaining 1/2 cup grated Manchego. Serves 4-8.

Adapted from Food52’s Toro Bravo recipe